One more barrier was broken in 1993 when Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman from any country to travel in space. The only bad thing about that singular honor is that it will always obscure her other achievements. Ochoa earned a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford University and holds three patents for optical inspection systems—no small thing in the field of space engineering in which systems have to be designed to microscopic tolerances. Ochoa followed her 1993 mission with three more in 1994, 1999 and 2001. She’s now the deputy director of the Johnson Space Center—another unheard of possibility back in NASA’s old boys club days.
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